RAV4 Brake Controller Wiring - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-04-2013, 09:57 AM   #1
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RAV4 Brake Controller Wiring

I received request for information on adding brake controller wiring to a RAV4. Since I've done this, as well as adding a charge line from the battery to the 7 pin hitch connector, I thought I'd post this for others. It probably makes sense to do this when adding the trailer light kit (Even though Toyota calls it a "Tow Package", it doesn't include the hitch or trailer light wiring, at least in the US).

Toyota recommends not tapping into the brake/tail light wiring, possibly because they use LED lighting & the wiring and fusing may no be heavy enough. For what ever reason, they have a wiring harness that provides a 4 way trailer plug at the rear of the vehicle, and runs to a socket under the dashboard. Unless you are a contortionist, finding & plugging into this socket is a challenge! By the way, I have also seen plug in versions of trailer wiring kits by after market suppliers that don't require running to the socket under the dash, so I guess it can be done.

I pretty much followed this web page. I used #10 wire for the charge line & #12 for the brake line. They are wired through a 30 amp & 20 amp circuit breaker. The run from the battery to the pair of breakers under the passenger side dash was made with #6 wire & a 50 amp fuse. If you have a 3 way refrigerator & plan on running it on DC while traveling, you might consider #8 wire for the charge line - the less voltage drop between the tow vehicle alternator & the trailer's battery, the better charging current you will get. It would be a good idea to insure that the ground wiring is also at least #10 or better since both carry the same current. While some feel you can depend on the ground connection through the framer of the tow vehicle & trailer, I'd prefer copper wire.

It took a full day to do the project - much of the time was spent finding a place for & mounting a 50 amp fuse in the engine compartment & removing the driver's side trim for the run between the front & rear of the vehicle.

I also added a isolation relay in the jack storage area so the charge line would be shut off when ever the ignition of the RAV4 was off. This will prevent running the vehicle battery down when parked for lunch, etc (it doesn't prevent the trailer's battery from discharge, so it would be wie to switch to propane if you are making a long stop). The sense wire for the relay was powered by the 12V outlet in the same compartment.

O course, all this is only useful for 2012 and older RAV4s - Toyota dropped the V6 & trailer package with the 2013 models.
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:37 AM   #2
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Thanks Jon
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:50 PM   #3
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thanks jon-and norm.

i read it but i dont understand that much. i talked to the dealer and they called what i had a "PRE tow package" i dont remember hearing the "PRE" when i was buying the car...but it all comes down to the same thing. a toyota tow package is the cooling part...not the hitch or the wiring

the car is at a shop now that has come recommended by 3 others in town. the guy explained it all to me...said the hitch and light wires put on by uhaul were fine and he would hook into those wires and wire the car for the brake controller and and install that

this will be 345 instead of 500 but the first place. my sons's are far away-there is no way i can do something like this.

toyota told me they have a brake controller set up for the tacoma and another suv bigger than the rav but not for the rav

i appreciate all the help here...i was frantic last night after getting so many contradictions from different rv service guys

i hope i made the right decision and can try it all out on saturday

thanks again to everyone.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:54 PM   #4
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Make sure you / they are clear on the gauge of wire for charging the trailer battery. There is widespread ignorance on how large the wire needs to be. It must be 10 gauge or larger (smaller number) or you will not be happy with the performance.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:29 PM   #5
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For those interested, I made a few additions to the RAV4 towing wiring. If anyone else has anything to add, feel free!
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:20 AM   #6
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thomas...the guy installing it said he had to put the size wire called for by the brake controller...it was 12. i just called him and he said if he did it he would have to follow what was called for.

i guess its different when you can work on this stuff yourself. i dont really understand it and sure couldnt do it.

so-does that mean the brakes wont work right? i want my truck back. it was a lot easier.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpk49 View Post
thomas...the guy installing it said he had to put the size wire called for by the brake controller...it was 12. i just called him and he said if he did it he would have to follow what was called for.

i guess its different when you can work on this stuff yourself. i don't really understand it and sure couldn't do it.

so-does that mean the brakes wont work right? i want my truck back. it was a lot easier.
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Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
Make sure you / they are clear on the gauge of wire for charging the trailer battery.........
I was talking about the wire to charge the trailer battery. This wire is separate, but runs parallel to the brake control wire. It takes the same amount of work to run a 10 gauge wire as a 12 gauge wire, but the 10 gauge wire does a much better job of charging the trailer battery.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:32 PM   #8
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ok-i will talk to him again. i have the rav back and i know the wires make the lights work correctly. the guy said i need to hook-up and bring the camper to him so he can adjust the brakes. hope to do it monday. thanks again for all your help. kayak
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpk49 View Post
the guy said i need to hook-up and bring the camper to him so he can adjust the brakes.
That's good, but if he means to adjust the brake controller, you should learn to adjust the brake controller yourself, as well. There won't always be someone else around to do it when the settings need to be adjusted to a change of trailer, a change of tires on the trailer, trailer brake wear, or just a significant change in the amount of cargo carried in the trailer. No tools or special skills are needed to adjust the controller.
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